Graterford Think Tank
Following the completion of the summer 2002 class, participants decided to continue meeting on a weekly basis to develop projects focused on re-educating the public about crime and justice. This effort came to be known as the Graterford Think Tank, and the group has done – and continues to do – many and varied projects over the last six years. Additionally, Think Tank members provide critical expertise and guidance in the development of Inside-Out’s curriculum and trainings, acting as an advisory committee on research and organizational strategies for the national organization and assisting with training sessions for new Inside-Out instructors.
The composition of the Think Tank has changed over the years. At any given time there are 12-15 inside and 12-15 outside members of the Think Tank. Almost all of the current inside members are serving life sentences without the possibility of parole. All are engaged in other political, religious, and educational activities in the institution. Outside members of the Think Tank are students who have taken Inside-Out classes or individuals who have taken the Inside-Out intensive training. The Think Tank has met at Graterford Prison outside Philadelphia consistently every Wednesday since 2002.
The Think Tank is organized into five committees focused on special projects. These projects are a continuation of the ideas and working relationships initiated within the Inside-Out courses at Graterford.
THE INSIDE-OUT CENTER
“Inside-Out is a way to uncage the mind. ...A process where ideas can be discussed freely is very rare for those imprisoned; therefore, Inside-Out has a liberating effect. I’ve witnessed the positive change in the thinking of many men as a direct result of their having experienced the Inside-Out course. And as people are freed of stereotypes for a richer understanding of the issues, we as a society benefit in countless ways. Often, through Inside-Out, we take a more holistic approach and connect the dots that the media purposefully ignores. A more informed public makes better decisions which creates a healthier society.” (Inside Participant)
“Dreams come true.
There is no hope without witnessing salvation.
To struggle is to live, making victory much more sweeter.
I will always hope, I will always believe, I will never surrender.
I am a dream.”
(Inside Participant and Think Tank Member)